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The Story Of Riyad Mahrez's Failed Trial At Scottish Side St Mirren Is Incredible

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The Story Of Riyad Mahrez's Failed Trial At Scottish Side St Mirren Is Incredible

In a career full of highs and lows, Riyad Mahrez accomplished one of his biggest achievements to date on Tuesday night when he helped Manchester City to a Champions League final.

The Algerian international, signed by Pep Guardiola in the summer of 2018 from Leicester, scored a brace against Paris Saint-Germain to cap another impressive individual performance.

Mahrez has no doubt enjoyed a wonderful campaign for City as they aim to capture a famous treble, but his journey to the top has been far from straightforward.

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The Sarcelles-born winger was always gifted technically but his slender build deterred clubs from making a permanent move.

In fact, before he officially began his career with French fourth division side Quimper, a young Mahrez attended a trial at Scottish side St Mirren in 2009.

In an interview with L'Equipe, the Algerian international opened up about that "very cold" trial in Scotland.

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"An agent, Jean Evina, told me he had trial for me in the Scottish First Division with St Mirren reserves," said Mahrez.

"He paid for my ticket and I went with another guy from [Parisian suburb] Sarcelles, Dany Bekale.

"It went well. I played four friendlies and I scored seven goals - I killed them. And then they made me wait for two-and-a-half months."

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Mahrez says he'd "had enough" of waiting around for months, so he borrowed a bike to escape.

"It drove me crazy, Scotland. It was cold. It was abuse. It was snowing and everything. I was so cold that one day I faked an injury to go to the locker room." he continued.

"It was physical and it was cold and we trained in the snow. I felt that I progressed. I wasn't allowed to go so I left in secret.

"Anyway, a few days later, my agent said: 'Riyad, I've sent you a ticket, you take the bus right away, get off at Glasgow Station and you get on the train to the airport, then you take the flight to Paris'.

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"I did not speak English at all. I left my boots at the training ground - I borrowed a bike from a guy from the hotel, I took my football trainers, I made my bag and I left without telling anyone, not even the lady at the hotel.

"I left via a staircase which avoided the reception."

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

Mahrez also spoke about the situation with Unscriptd years later.

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"I was quite happy to come back because Scotland was very difficult and very cold. I was young." he said. "I'd never been away from my family for that long."

Despite all the negatives surrounding his trial at St Mirren, the former Leicester City winger admits there were some positives from the experience.

"In these two months in Scotland I really improved physically. I played with the English spirit as well - it's the same as British spirit.

"It was very intense physically and I think these two months helped me.

"When I came back to France I had better movement, better things in my qualities."

Topics: Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez, Football, PSG, Champions League

Jack Kenmare
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